QUESTIONS have been raised rather than answered, fears have grown rather than been alleviated. Just weeks into the season, Rangers are already at a crossroads on and off the park.

It could be argued that the line has already been crossed, that the balance has already been tipped, as a campaign that promised much – and that has delivered a notable achievement – seemingly slips away from Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Once it does, there will be no route back for many at Ibrox.

The blame game will see fingers pointed in many different directions. There is no single reason behind Rangers’ current malaise, though, and Herald and Times Sport assesses the key questions that will shape the remainder of the season and beyond.


As fans concern themselves with the here and the now and ponder what the future holds, it would be churlish of them not to recognise the past and what the board – guided by chairman Douglas Park – have done for Rangers in recent seasons. Without their time, money and efforts, Rangers would not have progressed as required.

But that appreciation and thanks only goes so far. It does not grant Park, nor anyone else, a free pass and the mistakes and concerns are now mounting up as supporters doubt the custodians of their club.

In football terms, the board stand accused of failing to build on title 55 and the subsequent run to Seville. As significant funds have been banked, the levels of investment in a side that needed upgrading to take it to the next level just haven’t been forthcoming.

Off the park, the charge sheet is lengthy. From fights with the SPFL and the Press, from the ticket office to merchandise and fan relations to the Sydney Super Cup, there are so many areas where the board have got it badly wrong in recent seasons.

The ethos and direction of Rangers starts at the top and trickles down. At board and executive level, sweeping changes – both in terms of personnel and strategy – are now needed.


The fact that such a question is even being asked right now sums up the unique environment that Van Bronckhorst operates in at Ibrox, but the Dutchman must surely be cognisant of the external pressure that he is under.

He is, of course, the boss that came within a shoot-out of European glory, ended the long wait for Scottish Cup success and then went on to guide Rangers into the group stages of the Champions League. All of those achievements are notable and should not be forgotten.

But the manner in which the Premiership title was lost cannot be overlooked, and following up a 3-0 defeat at Parkhead in February with a 4-0 reverse in the first Old Firm of the season has deeply damaged Van Bronckhorst. The abject performance against Ajax hasn’t been a fatal blow but the wounds cut deep.

When fans are questioning the position of a manager and are stating that one more Premiership defeat could cost him his job, there is a feeling that it is already too late, that faith has been lost.

Van Bronckhorst has many redeeming qualities and some successes. But he looks to be fighting a losing battle and it is hard to see where the required turnaround will come from to save Rangers’ season and his position.


The way in which Rangers have operated in terms of their player trading is at the heart of their issues. It naturally involves the board and Van Bronckhorst but it is the sporting director that supporters have the spotlight shining on right now.

Failing to properly address the shortcomings in the squad in January cost Rangers the Premiership title. This term, the same mistakes have been made and Rangers find themselves up against it already as funds raised haven’t been utilised properly.

Wilson’s record overall is simply not good enough when it comes to players that have been signed on his watch. And that is before the management of contracts, with key assets allowed to run down their deals in successive seasons, is taken into account.

None of the seven summer signings finished the Old Firm defeat at Parkhead and only two started in Amsterdam the night after Van Bronckhorst defended the decision not to do any business on deadline day.

Moves for Calvin Bassey, Leon Balogun and John Lundstram can be considered notable successes, but the record is blotted by deals for the likes of Cedric Itten, Fashion Sakala and Scott Wright or, more damningly, Jack Simpson, Juninho Bacuna and the ill-fated Aaron Ramsey and Amad Diallo.

Like the board and Van Bronckhorst, the evidence has stacked up against Wilson. He will do well to turn the tide of public opinion now.


There are failings in terms of leadership, management and recruitment that cannot be overlooked at Ibrox. But that doesn’t excuse the squad from their ineptitude.

Credit is due for the wonderful win over PSV Eindhoven but the showings away to Union Saint-Gilloise and Ajax were woeful. And that Old Firm embarrassment will not be forgiven or forgotten for some time by a furious support.

As new signings have failed to hit the ground running, stalwarts of the side such as Connor Goldson, Ryan Jack and Ryan Kent have endured difficult starts to the term. When even the most consistent of performers cannot be relied upon, the outcome is going to be obvious.

Questions remain over Jon McLaughlin’s suitability as first choice keeper, while Alfredo Morelos continues to cause his manager unwanted issues as his fitness and mentality have been called out in public and behind closed doors.

Performances across the Premiership campaign have not been at an acceptable standard and the one produced against Celtic should shame James Tavernier and his team as Rangers were outfought as well as outplayed.

The required levels have not been hit this term and individual and collective mistakes have cost Van Bronckhorst at crucial moments. If his players don’t respond, they will cost him his job.


Backing the team and backing the regime are – as Rangers supporters know all too well – very different things. Whatever fears fans have over key personnel at Ibrox, their support of the side will never waver.

That doesn’t mean it should be taken for granted, though. The upcoming international break is a natural point for heads to cool and emotions to calm but matches with Napoli and Dundee United before then carry huge significance in terms of Rangers’ Champions League and Premiership aspirations.

It won’t take much to tip a disgruntled fan base over the edge and the reaction in the stands, on the streets and from behind keyboards will be telling in the coming days.

When standards are not being kept and expectations are not being realised, Rangers supporters have shown that they won’t be slow in coming forward and everyone from the boardroom to the dressing room should be aware of the scrutiny they are under right now.